With the increased interest in plastic surgery and the numbers of procedures being performed on the rise, more people than ever before look to overseas to have their desired procedures……..at a substantial savings. In the June 2007 issue of Financial Times, it is reported that well over 100,000 Americans a year leave the United States to have medical work done. This is expected to not only continue but to increase at an annual rate of nearly 20 percent. The main reason is cost. A breast augmentation in the U.S. may cost around $6,000, but in Argentina it would $2,999. A rhinoplasty (nose job) in the U.S. averages $7,000, but in Costa Rica it would be closer to $2,000. Many of these countries and their surgeons aggressively advertise….and it is now possible to easily do so through the internet.
The question is…is this a good idea. Is the financial savings worth the inconvenience and the risk? Many of those surgeons from other countries would argue that the quality of care and the results are just as good as in the U.S. That is an issue that is difficult to debate as it always depends on whom is doing the surgery and what is their experience. I have no doubt that some good quality plastic surgery can be had abroad……but always remember….when their risk is minimal (who are going to sue or complain to?)….it is hard to imagine that some corners are not being cut…..and at your potential expense. Equally important, what aboout postoperative care? How are they going to follow you up and who is going to take care of you if you have problems? The answer to that is simple…….they aren’t and it is falls on your shoulders to find care back here in the U.S. and pay for it. I recently saw a facelift patient from Mexico who came to the emergency room to have her sutures removed. She was highly offended that there would be a charge by me for suture removal.
The American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS) states, “Bargain surgery can be costly.” This can be particularly true if you develop complications, such as an infection, or are unhappy with your results, having to redo the surgery here. Furthermore, immediate travel after any surgery increases the risks of certain complications such as blood clots. The ASPS recommends waiting up to 10 days after cosmetic surgery before flying again to decrease these potential risks.
Dr Barry Eppley